Confusion over public inquiry into hospital consultant

A pensioner, concerned about his treatment by former Consultant Urologist Mr Aidan O’Brien, has voiced confusion as to why his case is not part of the Public Inquiry.
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Mervyn Kinlock said he contacted the Southern Health Trust helpline when he heard there were questions over work by Mr O’Brien who was a consultant at Craigavon Hospital.

Mr Kinloch revealed he had been a patient of Mr O’Brien for around ten years and had undergone a significant number of procedures, the last of which was January this year.

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The pensioner said he had concerns and had contacted the helpline set up by the Southern Health Trust.

Mr Aidan O'Brien, consultant surgeon. INPT51-230. JPI MediaMr Aidan O'Brien, consultant surgeon. INPT51-230. JPI Media
Mr Aidan O'Brien, consultant surgeon. INPT51-230. JPI Media

He spoke to someone on the helpine who took his details and said they would get back to him. Another person got back to him but said he was not for review. Mr Kinlock said he couldn’t understand why his case was not reviewed.

A spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said: ““We would encourage anybody with concerns to contact the information line by calling 0800 414 8520 or emailing [email protected]

Further queries asking what the terms of the review were, which patients are affected and why this patient was told he was not part of the review were not answered by the Trust.

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A spokesperson for the Department of Health answered some of the questions with quotes from Minister Robin Swann’s speech on the matter last week.

When asked if any patient of Mr O’Brien’s can ask for their treatment to be reviewed, the Department referred to a Southern Trust statement which said ‘this developing situation and has advised patients that if they are concerned about aspects of their Urology care and require further advice that they contact the Southern Trust by email or on its Urology Information Phone Line. The information line is available Monday – Friday 10am to 3pm. The number is 0800 414 8520’.

When asked if this patient’s case could be part of the review, the Department said the question should be referred to the Southern Trust. But added the Minister’s statement to the Assembly: “Inevitably this type of work leads to a range of statistics relating to patient numbers, records reviewed, patients contacted and so on. Members will know that behind every statistic there is a patient, a family, their story and experience. These types of exercises can cause upset, distress and anxiety. A significant element in all of this work, therefore, will be to communicate and support patients and their families as much as possible in the coming weeks and months. To help with his, the Southern Trust are developing a patient support package to include any counselling and psychological support needed, alongside provision of family liaison and related support services.”

When asked what the terms of the review are and which patients are affected, the Department quoted Mr Swan who said: “My officials are preparing the way to get this inquiry up and running as soon as possible. This will take some time and I would expect that the respective families and patients will have the opportunity to influence the terms of reference of the inquiry.”

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